Is it ever good that some green card cases go slowly? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. You know me, we’re always fighting, we’re always pushing ahead, we’re always trying to get our cases to go as quickly as possible, zoom, zoom, zoom, speed, speed, speed.
We’re always trying to do everything we can at our office to try to be as efficient as possible, to file the strongest application, and to get it on file as quickly as we can. And then of course on the back end we’re always suing USCIS for delays on green card cases, asylum cases, visa cases, and even green card cases.
But there’s one kind of case that it’s not so bad that we see go slowly. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, my friend Tyson, he’s a criminal defense lawyer, and he was talking about how sometimes… He’s not a criminal defense lawyer anymore, but he was. And when he used to practice criminal law, there were some cases that he wanted to go to trial slowly.
Now, obviously if he had a client who was detained in pretrial jail, he would want to get that case moving faster, sooner rather than later. But there were some cases he said maybe there was a special violence against the victim or that there was going to be a plea and the prosecutor, and the defense attorney would talk to each other and say, “This is a case that might not necessarily need to go that quickly. We might want to let the victim sort of settle down, understandably settle down, and get their wits about them. And that way if there’s a plea that the victim is not too upset.”
So, that got me thinking. Are there any cases that we, as an immigration lawyer or an immigration law firm, would like to see go slowly. And the one case that I can definitely see that it’s in our benefit to have our client’s cases go slowly are those cases when the marriage is relatively new.
I was talking to someone this weekend, sometimes people get divorced and then refile based on a new marriage because they’ve been separated for a while, the old marriage was long over, but it just took a while for the courts to finish the case. They turn around and get married and then they want to seek an immigration benefit off that new marriage.
And so, I had a consult just like that this weekend and it made me think, in conjunction with my conversations with Tyson, that on those cases, on a marriage-based case where the couple is brand new, where they just got married, that it’s not so bad when a case takes a long time.
So, we have cases in Washington, DC and New York and San Jose. And those cases go a lot slower than in some smaller cities. Right? And so, we see cases in those cities and other major metropolitan areas taking anywhere from 10 to 12 months, even longer, to get an interview. And of course, generally I’m upset and my client’s upset, but they do have their work and travel card.
And so, the nice thing about a case that’s delayed that long is that you get the chance to build more marital evidence. And so we actually see sometimes USCIS trying to rush out these cases, so people come on a visit visa, they get married right away, and they don’t have a lot of evidence that they’re interviewing. USCIS uses that to try to deny the case or send out a notice of intent to deny.
And so, having that long lag between the time of filing and the time of the interview allows sophisticated immigration lawyers and their clients to bring a lot of evidence to the interview, evidence that wouldn’t be available if the interview happened two or three months after the filing. So it’s interesting.
Usually USCIS takes their own sweet time on things, but on some of these recent marriage cases, they set them for interview very, very quickly. And for most situations we want cases to go quickly. But in that situation we’d rather the case go a little bit more slowly. So it’s interesting.
It’s a little bit of cat and mouse, a little bit of chess, but it’s good to keep in mind that if you’ve just been married and you’re getting ready to file, having your interview on the backend a little bit later is not the worst thing in the world because it’s going to give you more time to get your supplemental evidence all put together in a nice tight fashion.
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